After Train Conductor, Fruit Ninjas What Games Will Aussies Develop With the Creation of $20M Australian Interactive Games Fund?

By @ibtimesau on

Although Australia is host to successful games development studios such as Melbourne-based Voxel Agents which made the Train Conductor and Brisbane-based Halfbrick Studios known for the Fruit Ninja, the country's game-development industry could be further grown.

To ensure growth and carving for Australia a bigger niche in the multibillion-dollar global industry, Australian Arts Minister Simon Crean announced on Thursday the creation of the Australian Interactive Games Fund.

The fund would have an initial seed money of $20 million that would be used to support game-development studios and gamemakers in Australia over the next three years, Mr Crean announced at the Screen Producers Association of Australia National Conference in Melbourne.

The fund would provide the needed investment to pursue growth in the sector to allow artists, musicians, writers, performers and software developers to collaborate to meet the growing local and global demand for interactive entertainment and education.

"Australian games studios are recognised internationally for their skill and originality in developing interactive games played all over the world, but the local industry is coming under increased pressure in the midst of a major market shift," Gamespot Asia quoted Mr Crean.

The shift comes from new technologies that are being tapped to create unimaginable gaming platforms and new modes of storytelling that are now reshaping creative industries globally.

Train Conductor, a sample of which is shown in the YouTube video below, has been downloaded over 5 million times since Voxel rolled it out in December 2009.

Although the bulk of its downloads were free, about 800,000 copies of the game's two versions were sold at 99 cents each. However, it has not made millionaires out of its developers, Simon Joslin and his two partners, indicating the need for the fund.

Mr Joslin disclosed that when they launched Train Conductor, they had only $200 in the bank but they spent $12,000 to develop the game. For Voxel's next game scheduled for release in February 2013, the group invested another $300,000.

Fruit Ninjas has been downloaded and played by more than 70 million persons globally. It has three game modes, Classic, Zen and Arcade, in single-player mode. Best Fruit Ninja players in the world could compare their scores by using Openfeint. Halfbrick said it will come out with new game modes in future releases.

Besides Games Ninja, Halfbrick has also developed Jetpack Joyride which is currently being played by more than 5 million users globally.

The three were among the nine games named by Web site Android Geeks as the Best Free Android Games of 2012.

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